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How a smart meter could benefit you and the person you care for

Carers UK is working with Smart Energy GB to help carers learn more about smart meters. The information below explains how they could be beneficial to you and those you care for.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They’re being installed in homes across Great Britain to replace traditional analogue meters and you can request one from your energy supplier at no extra cost.

A smart meter measures how much gas and electricity your household uses, as well as what it costs, and displays this on a portable in-home display (IHD).

What are the benefits?

Smart meters could help you or the person you care for manage the household energy bills. They could also help you save time as you will no longer have to take meter readings. Here are some more details:

Automatic meter readings

Smart meters send gas and electricity readings directly and securely to the energy supplier, so you don’t have to. This could help free up more time for you and the person you care for, and could offer them more independence.

Accurate billing

Smart meters enable accurate, not estimated, bills. This means you will only need to pay for the energy you actually use.

Helping keep track of energy usage around the home

The IHD shows you in near-real time the amount of energy being used in pounds and pence. This could make it easier to keep an eye on energy spending habits.

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Are smart meters secure?

Both the IHD and the smart meter operate without the need to be connected to the internet. They use a secure communication system which means your energy usage data is only visible to your energy supplier and authorised parties that you’ve given consent for this to be shared with.

Could a smart meter help reduce energy bills?

There are lots of benefits to modern technologies like smart meters. One common question in regards to smart meters is whether they can save you money.

Just having a smart meter installed doesn't automatically save money. But the portable IHD that is offered during the smart meter installation could help you keep on top of household costs.

Do smart meters work for prepay customers?

Yes. Smart meters are set up to work for both prepay and credit customers. A smart meter in prepay mode allows you or the person you support to top up whenever it suits: online, via mobile, or at the shop.

Can you switch energy suppliers with a smart meter?

Yes. With one of the new second generation smart meters, you should be able to switch energy suppliers without any interruption to your energy readings, bill payments, or gas and electricity supply. A smart meter could help when considering switching, as you’ll have accurate energy usage information at hand which can help you choose the supplier and tariff.

How can you request a smart meter for the person you care for?

Carers are typically able to make smart meter appointments on behalf of the individuals they care for. Suppliers will ask a number of security questions when arranging the appointment, so it will be useful to liaise with the person that you care for to have this information to hand. Carers looking to act as a named third party should contact the supplier to find out how they can be added to the account. You can search for their energy supplier here.

What will happen during the installation?

All suppliers have different installation booking processes. You will need to follow the individual supplier's standard booking processes – this information can be found on the supplier's website, or by calling them directly. To find out more, read the leaflet from Smart Energy GB here.

The priority services register

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service that some energy suppliers use to provide particular support to certain customers who need it. This support can vary, but could include:

  • large-format or braille bills
  • advance notice of service interruption
  • priority restoration of service in the event of a power cut
  • a nominee scheme whereby customers can ask for communications (for example, account statements or bills) to be sent to someone who has been nominated to receive them, for instance a carer.

For more information:

  • If you want to know more about how smart meters could benefit you and the person you care for, click here.
  • If the person you care for is blind, partially sighted, or has difficulties with dexterity or memory loss, an accessible in-home display (AIHD) could help. Find out more here.
  • Smart Energy GB is the not-for-profit, government-backed campaign helping everyone in Britain understand the importance of smart meters and their benefits to people and the environment.

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